Suffering

We live in a culture in which we are taught to avoid suffering. After all, avoiding it does seem to make perfect sense. But the problem is that God, who oftentimes delights in making little or no sense, uses suffering as a tool to grow the sufferer’s maturity and spirituality. As one writer has written, “God often digs the wells of joy with the spade of sorrow.” Another one has written, “A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor; uninterrupted prosperity and crowning success never qualifies a man for usefulness and genuine happiness.”

God the Father even used the sufferings of God the Son. Obviously, Jesus didn’t need to become more mature or grow spiritually, but God the Father used Christ’s sufferings in an even greater way: to provide a payment for the world’s sin debt. Hebrews 9:26 says that Jesus “…has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” And, in Luke 24:25, Jesus says of His death, burial, and resurrection, “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”

My goal with this post is to remind us that suffering, as unpleasant as it is, is not without its benefits. As a matter of fact, the Bible actually sings the praises of suffering for the cause of Christ or the sake of Christ. As evidence of this, Acts 5:41 says of the apostles who had just been beaten:

So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. (N.K.J.V.)

Along the same lines, Philippians 1:29 says:

For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake. (N.K.J.V.)

Of course, it should be understood that such passages apply exclusively to the Christian. If, however, you are a Christian there is one other passage that I’d like to share with you. It’s Romans 8:18:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (N.K.J.V.)

I’ll leave this verse with you, Christian, and encourage you to use it to keep your sufferings in proper perspective. Remember that they are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will one day be revealed in you. This is the great promise that allowed the apostles to actually rejoice when they got to suffer for Christ’s name, and it’s the same promise that should motivate you today.

This entry was posted in Adversity, Attitude, Christ's Death, Christ's Resurrection, Comfort, Complaining, Contentment, Courage, Depression, Disappointment, Encouragement, Patience, Persecution, Perseverance, Problems, Reward, Salvation, Sanctification, Suffering, Trials, Trusting In God and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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